THERE was good news for homeowners in some parts of Limerick this week, with reports that certain types of properties were bucking the downward trend and actually increasing in value.
The Sunday Times property price guide 2012 reported that some large homes in the outskirts of the city increased in value during the course of 2011 - and predicted they would hold their value in the coming year.
Five bedroom detached houses in areas such as Castleconnell, Lisnagry and Monaleen are particularly sought-after and, in some instances, mini ‘bidding wars’ have meant that they have sold for more than the asking price.
Lisa Kearney of Rooney Auctioneers gives an example of a house in Castleconnell where this occurred recently.
“For houses in particular areas - such as around Castleconnell - there is very good interest because it is hard to come by large detached houses in these areas,” she said.
Rooneys have sold three detached houses in this locality for over €360,000 in the last quarter of 2011, while a five bedroom house in Kylemore, Monaleen sold towards the end of last year for over €550,000.
Elsewhere, however, sales activity remains slow, with values down about 6% in the city and 3% in the outlying villages, according to the report. In county Limerick, the situation more accurately reflects national trends, with prices having fallen about 12.5% last year and 43% per cent from peak.
However, buyers are still on the lookout for bargains, and realistically-priced properties are attracting bids.
Pat Dooley of the Dooley Group recently highlighted three homes - all located in rural areas within 20 minutes of the city - that sold for about €300,000 in the second half of last year. And although there is no immediate prospect of any pick-up in prices, some properties continue to attract inquiries from potential buyers.
“We are getting a lot of interest, but whether that interest will lead to getting [sales] over the line, we will have to wait and see,” said Mr Dooley.
Ms Kearney of Rooneys pointed out that house buyers are still very price conscious. Houses that are correctly priced continue to attract lots of attention. Case in point is a three-bedroom semi on the North Circular Road, which only went on the market a week ago and has already attracted lots of attention. “The phone started hopping the minute the sign went up,” said Ms Kearney, adding they have had 12 viewings in a week.
“If the property is priced realistically, it will get the interest going,” she added.